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The Best American Sports Writing 2012 Paperback – December 7, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Many of these essays explore the often tragic personal costs of sports, particularly those sports, like football and hockey, where repeated blows to the head are an almost unavoidable feature of the game. Of the three or four essays that dealt with the effects of concussions, "Punched Out, the extended profile of hockey's Derek Boogaard, is the best.
Other pieces point out how sports act as a positive influence, serving as an escape from poverty and abuse. The profiles of Frank Shorter, the famous marathoner who was abused as a child, and of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania's high school football program are both excellent.
My single favorite piece was Taylor Branch's devastating attack on the NCAA, "The Shame of College Sports." It underscores just how cynically the ideal of "amateurism" has been manipulated in college sports, and how the organization that is supposed to represent and protect "student-athletes"--in a bit of Newspeak-like censorship, the NCAA requires that journalists use this label rather than "players"--often does just the opposite, extracting wealth.
If I had a complaint about the principle of selection, it is that these essays almost exclusively survey the human or business side of sports. There ought to be a place here for a few pieces that represent the best technical analysis of gameplay, player technique, coaching, or strategy.
Then I remembered that Michael Wilbon is the guest editor. Wilbon's schtick in the last 15 years has been to rip sports as a business and a social phenomenon. He hates all owners, the entire NCAA infrastructure, and most players. He hates the media hype surrounding the sport, even as he has parlayed it into an ultra-lucrative career in which he doesn't have to actually do any hard journalistic work any more. Basically, he name-drops his pals from the 1980s and 1990s and moans about how today's athletes are coddled, or cheaters, or stupid, or whatever. This book reflects his bias in many ways.
By the end of the book, I'd calmed down a bit. I enjoyed the pieces about kooky Rangers manager Ron Washington and rakish sportswriter George Kimball. I'd seen the pieces about Bryce Harper and Novak Djokovic when they were first published, but I enjoyed re-reading them with the reflection time to have enjoyed watching those players ascend the heights that were only beginning when the articles were written.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unmissable. Great selection of articles. It will make you excited about sports you don't even like. I was amazed by the articles about cricket and hockey.Published on November 30, 2013 by Matteo
Unmissable. Great collection of articles. You'll be completely captivated even if they talk about sports you don't like. I loved the cricket and the hockey ones.Published on November 30, 2013 by Antonella Cadeddu
The series is great, and I always enjoy reading the current issue as it is released. Always spans a wide range of sports-related subjects.Published on October 29, 2013 by RussellBerrien
Great collection of articles, I recommend to all sports fans. Most pieces are both interesting and informative. Worth every penny.Published on October 6, 2013 by dylan
Didn't want to write a review really, but it's required - I just felt the stories were too long and a little repetitive.Published on August 24, 2013 by Deb
Well written accounts of behind-the-scenes trials and tribulations (and successes) of very interesting sports figures. Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by Descca
Definitely not the best sports writing of the year. Maybe some inspiring sports stories, but not great journalism. Not worth the time.Published on July 24, 2013 by Guy Reader